June 26, 2012 8:19 PM Subscribe
I think I need to file bankruptcy. Guilt and shame.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I think I will need to file bankruptcy and this is having a profound negative affect on me. Please help me to cope.
Brief background: I lived in a different country to my home country for a very long time. I was working at a job in an environment which was becoming increasingly toxic and was affecting my health. I was on antidepressants yet still suffering from bad anxiety and not sleeping, constant headaches etc. I know it wasn't just me as others had left this company with similar experiences. Believe me when I tell you I was powerless to change the situation apart from leaving. I looked for months for other work, could not find anything. Eventually made a decision that it would be best (for many reasons) for me to move back to my country of birth. I did research on the job market in my birth country, spoke to many people in my industry, networked, etc and felt confident that my skills and CV were very good and I would be able to find a job in a short amount of time, despite the terrible job market. I moved back with a bank loan still outstanding that I fully intended to pay off and felt I could pay off with my assumed earnings. I had several months expenses saved. I could not find a job. I could not even get minimum wage job in basic retail, restaurants, etc. Believe me I tried. I eventually had to live off credit cards (from former country, previously with balances of zero) and then had to get public assistance due to the horrible job market where I literally could not find anything. It was one of the darkest times of my life. After 9 months I found a job which paid just above minimum wage so that I could just barely pay rent and food. Five months later I found a decent job in my field.
By this time I was so far behind on payments they were in collections. I had previously tried to talk to creditors (several times) to set up some kind of arrangement, but I couldn't even make their minimum payments. Now it is at the point where with unfavorable exchange rates, international transfer costs and large amounts (five figures) owed to four different creditors (so four monthly international payments), I can't even start to pay this. I have no assets, no money saved for any lump settlements, not even a car. I've only just started to get back on my feet. I have spoke to an attorney in the country I moved from and explained my situation in detail. He has advised that bankruptcy would probably be best for me.
The thought of this is horrifying to me. It causes me a tremendous amount of fear, shame guilt and anxiety. I am honestly living in terror that people will find out. No one knows and I will not tell anyone. It will be a matter of public record but of course people will have to know to search for it. I am terrified someone will figure it out and search. I am afraid creditors might call my old job there (even though I changed my details with my creditors when I quit) and my old coworkers (some of whom I keep in touch with) will find out.
Even if no one finds out, I feel like a really, really horrible and bad person. Because I am in a different country, this will not affect my credit here and that's not fair. I feel like I should be punished or something. I am not saying that to garner sympathy, I really feel that way. But the shame of people finding out is almost too much for me to bear. I have no intention to ever return to the other country to live. My experience there was sometimes not great (for a number of reasons not relevant here) and I feel sad when reminded of the place I used to live or when I see pictures. I am happy to be back home. I love my job and I think they like me. I think my future is bright. I try to be a good person. I had every intention of paying this back but I honestly don't feel like I can unless the creditors would make generous arrangements with me (low payments over a very long time period), which they won't.
Please tell me how you have dealt with this if you or someone you know has been through it. Please tell me what I can do in the future to make retribution or amends. I am not in a position to pay the creditors now, I can't set up any kind of arrangement where I can defer payments until I am in a better situation.......is there anything I can do to repay society when I am in a better situation?
I know I probably need therapy about this so no need to mention that. I will do so when I am able. Throwaway email: email@example.com. Thank you for your help.